In human resource terms, an exit interview is a survey that is conducted with an employee when he or she leaves the company. The information from each exit interview is used to provide feedback on why employees are leaving, what they liked about their employment and what areas of the company need improvement. Exit interviews are most effective when the data is compiled and tracked over time.
How are Exit Interviews conducted?
The exit interview may be conducted through a variety of methods. Some of the methods include: in-person, over the telephone, on paper, and through the Internet such as with Nobscot’s WebExit, exit interview management system.
Pros and Cons of each method of Exit Interviewing
In-Person Exit Interviews
With in-person exit interviews an HR representative meets individually with each terminating employee.
Telephone Exit Interviews are conducted over the telephone by an HR Representative or an outside third party consultant.
Paper and Pencil Exit Interviews are usually conducted by a form that is given to the employee on their last day or mailed to the employee’s home.
Employee self-service so easy for HR to administer
According to a study by the Society of Human Resource Management, over 90% of companies conduct exit interviews. Exit interviews are one of the most widely used methods of gathering employee feedback.
Exit Interviews Versus Employee Satisfaction Surveys
One of the benefits of exit interviews over employee satisfaction surveys is that exit interviews are conducted when an employee is leaving. This diminishes the urgency in which a company must act on the feedback provided in the exit interview. With employee surveys, it’s imperative to act on the results of the employee satisfaction surveys as quickly as possible. Once you provide employees the opportunity to tell you where the problems are, they expect immediate action on those problems. With exit interviews, you have a greater opportunity to review the data and look for trends over time. Employers can take action on problem areas as they see fit without causing further concern among employees.
Post Employment Exit Interviews
One of the newest fads is conducting the exit interview after the employee has been gone from the company for 3 or 6 months. The theory behind this exit interview strategy is that employee will have a better perspective on things once he or she has had a chance to reflect on his or her employment. Therefore, the employee is expected to provide more valuable information in an exit interview if it is held six months after employment. In research that Nobscot has conducted, this theory has yet to hold up. The majority of companies that have tried these kinds of Post-Employment exit interviews found that the results were similar to the exit interviews conducted immediately upon termination. Additionally, it’s difficult and time consuming to reach employees this far after employment has discontinued.
Generally, you can expect to get the most valuable information by conducting the exit interview a few days before or after an employee leaves the company. The employee’s employment experiences are fresh in his or her mind and the employee is usually happy to express their final thoughts before leaving the company.
-Beth N. Carvin